Recruit to watch: DB Ambrose Wooden

You won't find a more talented athlete in this year's class than Ambrose Wooden, (6'1, 185 lbs) out of Gilman High School in Baltimore, Maryland. The Trojans are among a host of schools pursuing the highly touted defensive back prospect.

To put it simply, Wooden can do it all. With legitimate 4.3 speed and incredible athleticism, the only problem with having him on your team is deciding where to play him. At quarterback last year, where he was named All-Metro first team, he had "close to" 1000 yards passing and 1000 yards rushing. He also saw time at cornerback and safety for Gilman. This year, he figures to see his role expand even further, if that's possible, "I'm going to be the full-time quarterback," he said. "We have another kid who's going to be a senior, he has a really good arm and I'll probably go play slot sometimes and get a match-up, one-on-one coverage maybe. I also play cornerback, I'll play a little running back this year, and safety a little bit. Actually, I might even punt. We don't have a punter coming in, so coach was saying, you know, maybe make them think a little bit, if its 4th and 5, whether or not I'll punt or just run, or do something crazy."

Currently, Wooden is looking at "Stanford, UCLA, USC, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Maryland, Notre Dame, and UNC." Out of that group, all but North Carolina and Stanford have offered. Although he doesn't have a leader or group of leaders, Wooden did say "USC is definitely in my Top-5." Despite the fact that he plays at so many positions in high school, almost every college, including USC, is recruiting him as a defensive back.

An "A" student, Wooden explained that academics will play a role in his decision, "I'm looking for a balance between academics and athletics. School is important to me and my parents. That's a big part of where I'll decide to go. Also, just the feeling with the coaches and everything, because that's an important thing." He plans on majoring in business or dentistry.

Wooden is also a star in track & field and baseball, both spring sports. In track, he runs the 100m, 200m, 4X100, and 4X200, and he was league champ in all four events with personal bests of 10.5 in the 100m and 21.3 in the 200m. He's equally impressive in baseball where he batted over 400. last year as a short stop. He'll be moving over to center field this year and has some hopes of playing on the baseball diamond in college, "I want to walk-on if possible, wherever I go, but who knows. I know baseball is good out in California. I'm thinking of coming to USC and trying out for the baseball team. Coach Kiffin said it was alright, so I was like ‘ok.'"

Wooden didn't attend any camps this summer but worked hard in the weight room, "I've been working out at school," he said. "Coach has been training me. He goes around the country looking for the best training stuff. He goes to different camps and everything and picks up different things. Even if you work out all summer, you're coming home sore. It's rough. It's worth it though. I've been repping 315 on squat and 225 on bench. I did that about 8 or 10 times last week. I've been trying to improve that. I saw where Quentin Jammer did that 18 times, so I was like ‘That's where I'm trying to be.'"

As mentioned earlier, Wooden's teammate, Victor Abiamiri (6'5, 240 lbs), is a top defensive end recruit who's looking at many of the same schools, "Yeah, we're pretty much looking at the same schools, like Stanford, Notre Dame, UCLA, USC, Maryland and UNC," explained Wooden. "We talk about it every now and then. Like yesterday, I was at practice and I was like ‘So, where are you going to school?' And he's like, ‘Where are YOU going to school?' So, we joke around about it." Despite the fact that they are looking at so many of the same schools, Wooden says that a package deal isn't a priority for either of the prospects, "We know it's a possibility, but we don't talk about it much."

Although he hasn't set up any visits yet, Wooden does plan on going through the process before he commits anywhere, "I think I'm going to take all of my visits," he said "You know, to see all of the schools and I'll think about it. I don't want to rush into it. I want to know I'm making the right decision."


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